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An Interview with Zach Braff
Zach Braff is known for his work on "Scrubs" and the indie hit,"Garden State." A few weeks ago, his latest film, "The Ex" came out and I talked to him about the film, his future works, and life in general. The following is an excerpt from that interview.
The Tech: You've covered a lot of ground in the last three or four years, going from "Scrubs" to "Garden State" to "Chicken Little," and then, the serious drama "The Last Kiss." And now you're doing this more traditional comedy with "The Ex." Which of these do you prefer to do?
Zach Braff: So I love doing like broad comedy, like ["The Ex"] is a total broad comedy. You know, it's physical comedy. It's totally for the "Scrubs" audience.
But I want to do a drama. The next movie I'm thinking about directing is a dark drama. You know, you always want to do something different. Because if you just start doing the same thing over and over again it gets really boring.
TT: I was wondering about the new movie you're going to be directing. Do you have any ideas for the soundtrack?
ZB: Well actually I came up with this idea that I'd like to do, and that is, in the movie the lead girl in the movie is an aspiring singer. So my idea is to have all these different artists I really love from like Imogen Heap to Paul Simon to Chris Martin, to have them write original songs that in the movie we'll pretend are her songs.
And then she'll sing them in the movie as the movie goes along. And then on the sound track the artist who wrote the song will sing the song they wrote on the sound track.
So that's my rough concept of an idea and I'm going to see if I can get people to do that.
TT: You and your co-star, Jason Bateman, are pretty strong comedic actors and I was wondering if this carried off the set as well. Did you guys play pranks or jokes on each other at all?
ZB: Mostly it's him making fun of me and laughing at my expense. But he's so funny that I just laugh along. He's one of those people that like — he can be like making fun of you and you're just cracking up because he's just so friggin funny … it's like I become just like the little giggling school girl. I don't even try and come up with funny stuff. I just stand there and he makes me laugh.
TT: How did you prepare for the role in "The Ex?"
ZB: I didn't really prepare. I'm not one of those people who's like "well I studied what it would be like to have a baby." I just, you know, I don't know, I just tried to think of ways to make the script even funnier than it already was.
It's sort of in my blood because of the broad comedy thing is what I do on "Scrubs." So it felt pretty natural.
TT: And how was it being a dad in the film?
ZB: You know, I had to learn how to hold the baby because I didn't know about the whole neck thing. I mean, someone had to explain to me the fact that their necks aren't strong. But I figured it out. By the end I was damned good at holding the baby.
TT: What made you decide to participate in "The Ex?" Was it because of the cast or the director?
ZB: It was really the script. I get sent a lot of comedy scripts but I don't laugh when I read them. You read it and you go I guess this could be funny if they get good people. Or I guess this could be funny if they do x, y, z to it.
But, you know, this was a script that I was laughing out loud when I was reading it. And I just thought they don't need to do anything to this script. It's just so rare that you get a script that doesn't need any work.
TT: How was it working with Amanda Peet?
ZB: She's a sweetheart. She's so nice and beautiful … Amanda is just so easy and sweet and, I don't know, we just clicked. I think we had really good chemistry.
TT: You mentioned that it is a little awkward maybe making fun of someone who is paraplegic [in "The Ex']. And I'm curious if you felt any of the jokes in that manner, you know, crossed the line or ….
ZB: Well here's the distinction I'll make. There's not a single second of making fun of a paraplegic … We're not making fun of him. What happens is that — one of the things the movie addresses is how do you deal with someone who's an asshole that happens to be a wheelchair. But they're also an asshole. You can't tell me there's no handicapped that aren't [sic] jerks, you know.
So that's what the character fights with. He feels so sorry for this guy because he's handicapped and he's had to deal with all that adversity in his life. But the guy is also an asshole.
So that's what the movie is about. It's not ever about the fact that ever looking down upon him for having a handicap. What it is is this guy is trying to ruin my life and no one will side with me because everyone feels bad for him.
TT: When you're not filming what are you doing?
ZB: Hanging out with my friends and hanging out with my dog and reading and watching movies. And I'm a photographer — amateur photographer. I take pictures.
TT: And if you weren't an actor what would you be doing?
ZB: If I wasn't an actor I imagine — I don't know what I'd do. Maybe an architect or maybe a photographer.
TT: Okay. And which do you like better — do you like making films, working on your sitcom, videos, music directing or … ?
ZB: I just like working. If anyone wants to hire me I'm available for hire.